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Man Arrested in Cody For Stealing Four Cars & Leading Police on Multiple High Speed Chases

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming law enforcement officers got a hand from Mother Nature in apprehending a car thief.

Ending a multi-state crime spree, a young man from Montana was finally captured when his stolen vehicle (suspected to be the fourth that he had swiped in a two-week period) was disabled by spike strips after a high-speed chase with law enforcement officers in Park County.

Wyoming authorities first became aware that a car thief was on the loose when an abandoned 2004 Ford Ranger with New Mexico plates was found stuck in a drift by the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

They and other first responders had been helping motorists dig out from the snow that had been piled up by high winds on Monday, February 22.

According to affidavits filed by  Wyoming Highway Patrol Troopers, the pickup had been reported missing in Harding County, New Mexico.

The alleged culprit, 27 year old Garret Bailey of Butte, Montana, led Highway Patrol troopers and Park County Sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase Tuesday night, the 23rd, before he was apprehended in yet another stolen vehicle.

Court documents allege that Bailey had lifted an SUV that was left running in the Blair’s parking lot in Powell; then he attempted to elude the police in the stolen Ford Edge at speeds of up to 122 miles per hour. The chase only ended after Sheriff’s Deputies deployed spike strips which flattened the vehicle’s tires south of Cody.

Bailey’s crime spree actually began, according to Highway Patrol Lieutenant Lee Pence, in Montana – he drove a stolen vehicle from that state to New Mexico, where he was initially apprehended.

However, the vehicle’s owner decided not to press charges, and Bailey walked free. But another vehicle was loaned to him, which he ran off with and wrecked; and then decided that his next hot ride would be in a government vehicle from Harding County.

He headed north in that Ford pickup, and was home free – until that Wyoming blizzard stopped him in his tracks.

After his arrest, Bailey told Powell Police Investigator Chris Wallace that a “friend of a friend” in New Mexico let him “borrow” the truck to go see his kids in Butte, Montana (later admitting that he stole the pickup, which had the keys in it, from outside a building) – but he was forced to abandon the vehicle when he hit the snowbank on February 21st.

He was given a ride – and a room at the Cody Legacy Inn – by a concerned citizen, who picked him up the next day and gave him a ride to Powell, where he acquired lodging at the Super 8. Bailey said he needed a ride to Cody, and when he saw the Ford Edge idling in the parking lot at Blair’s, he took it.

After being tipped off about the stolen Ford Edge, an officer from the Cody Police Department, several Park County Sheriff’s Deputies, and two Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers caught up with Bailey just northeast of Cody.

Law Enforcement vehicles boxed him in just outside the Cody city limits, but Bailey charged forward, almost hitting Deputy Ethan Robinson head-on before swerving, and leading multiple units on a high speed chase (at one point clocking 122 miles per hour) into and out of the Oregon Basin oil field. The chase finally ended when deputies laid out spike strips to flatten the tires of the stolen vehicle. 

Deputy Robinson says when they finally apprehended him, Bailey at first told authorities that another person was driving, but ran away – but he couldn’t provide a description of the fictitious driver, and no sign of another suspect was found.

Bailey did try to alter his physical appearance by stripping down to his long johns and taking off the sweatshirt and coat that he had been wearing when security cameras caught him driving off in the Ford Edge, but those items were found in the stolen car.

Bailey’s blood alcohol content was over three times the legal limit at the time of his arrest – it was recorded at .27 when he was booked into the Park County Detention Center.

As of Monday, March 1st, Bailey is being held in the Park County Detention Center in Cody on a $75,000 cash-only bond, on five different charges: two counts of theft ($1000 in value or more); one count of property destruction; one count of fleeing or eluding police; one count of reckless endangering; and one count of driving while under the influence of alcohol and controlled substances. He was seen by Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters on Friday, February 26, and will have his preliminary hearing on Friday, March 5th.

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Cheyenne Police: Autopsy Report Not Completed In Toddler’s Death Investigation

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Cheyenne Police Department is clarifying the status of its investigation into a toddler’s death after an error made during a phone interview.

Lt. Rob Dafoe of the department’s detective bureau, in a Facebook post, corrected a statement made earlier that an autopsy of Athian Rivera, a Cheyenne toddler whose body was found in a dumpster in later February, revealed nothing conclusive about his cause of death.

Dafoe’s posting said the department has not yet received the autopsy report on Rivera, 2.

“An error was made during a phone interview, as we have not received the full autopsy report. We maintain good working relations with our partner agencies and our focus is where it should be, on investigating this case,” Dafoe said.

Cheyenne radio station KGAB reported this week that there wasn’t a conclusive cause of death in Rivera’s case. The report was based on an interview with a department spokeswoman who said the autopsy results had been delivered to the department.

Wyatt Lamb, the boyfriend of Rivera’s mother, was arrested on unrelated charges but investigators are recommending he be charged with murder and aggravated child abuse. However, he has yet to be officially charged and it was unclear if he is still being held in custody.

“As the mother of this missing boy … I have alot to say … especially about all the horrible things people are saying but I wont … cause deep down I know my baby was happy here and never abused,” Kassy Orona, Rivera’s mother, said on the Cheyenne Police Department’s Facebook page the weekend after her son’s death.

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Cheyenne Man Leads Police On Crazy Car Chase; Heads Wrong Direction on I-25

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Cheyenne man is in custody after leading police on a chase early Monday morning that included driving against traffic on Interstate 25 near Cheyenne.

Nickolas David Jones, 33, faces charges of with fleeing to elude, interference with a peace officer, careless driving, driving without lighted lamps, driving a vehicle with metal rims in contact with the roadway, driving without a seatbelt and driving the wrong way on the interstate in connection with the chase.

According to Wyoming Highway Patrol reports, around 12:04 a.m. Monday, troopers were notified of a vehicle driving erratically on Interstate 25, with and the driver turning the car’s headlights on and off.

Around 12:18 a.m., a trooper attempted to stop the vehicle, a 2014 Subaru, south of the port of entry on Interstate 25 in Laramie County, but the driver didn’t stop.

Jones initially fled south before crossing the interstate and driving northbound. He displayed reckless behavior by driving with the vehicle’s headlights off, leaving the driver’s seat and crawling into the backseat while the car was still moving and driving the wrong way on the interstate.

Jones continued to elude officers even after they made several attempts to use spike strips and perform tactical vehicle intervention maneuvers.

The pursuit changed travel directions multiple times on the interstate, with Jones continuing to exhibit erratic behavior and causing imminent danger to the public, according to patrol reports.

Outside of Cheyenne on the interstate, pursuing law enforcement units were able to use their patrol vehicles to pin the Subaru to the side of the road as Jones started driving south in highway’s northbound lanes toward stopped traffic.

Jones failed to comply with orders from the troopers, but the officers were able to use less-than-lethal force to take him into custody.

Once Jones was detained, officers observed he had self-inflicted cuts on his arm. Troopers administered first aid to control the bleeding and he was transported to the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.

The Cheyenne Police Department and Laramie County Sheriff’s Office helped in apprehending Jones.

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Laramie Murder: Ramirez’s Mother Seeks To Make Grand Jury Proceeding Public

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By Andrew Graham, WyoFile

Attorneys for the mother of a Laramie man slain by an Albany County Sheriff’s deputy opened a new front in their legal battle this week, asking a judge to release records from a grand jury investigation of the shooting.

The lawyers suggest in the newest filing that Albany County officials, worried about a future lawsuit, presented biased experts to the grand jury that cleared deputy Derek Colling for the killing of Robbie Ramirez. Colling shot and killed Ramirez during a November 2018 confrontation. 

Ramirez’s mother, Debra Hinkel, seeks as much as $20 million in damages for what she alleges was the wrongful death of her son and a miscarriage of justice. The newest motion was filed Feb. 19 in Albany County District Court and paired with a series of new filings in the federal court where Hinkel brought her lawsuit. 

Albany County officials have pointed to the grand jury proceedings as evidence the shooting was justified. Hinkel’s lawyers now suggest the grand jury was engineered to protect the county government from liability. The county attorney selected biased witnesses to make a case for clearing Colling, the lawyers wrote, and jury members as well as the public therefore deserve a chance to review the secret proceedings.

“The defendants in the federal action are defending that case under assumed regularity of the grand jury proceedings,” lawyers wrote in the county court filing, “when it appears in all likelihood the use of the grand jury was anything but regular.”

The Spence Law Firm, out of Jackson, is representing Hinkel.

With the new filings, the lawyers continue their argument that county officials covered for Colling after the shooting in order to avoid accountability for hiring the controversial deputy. Albany county has denied those charges. 

Investigation Integrity Questioned

Colling had previously shot and killed a 15-year-old boy while working as a police officer in Las Vegas, a shooting that led to a lengthy lawsuit. He was later fired from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for an alleged assault of a videographer trying to film police work. 

Former Sheriff Dave O’Malley hired Colling — a Laramie native whose father is a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper — when other law enforcement agencies wouldn’t, Hinkel’s lawyers have alleged. They accused O’Malley of being “unduly influenced by his friendship with Defendant Colling’s father” in the original legal complaint. Laramie Police Chief Dale Stalder chose not to hire Colling, he told WyoFile last summer.

Albany County prosecutor Peggy Trent (co.albany.wy.us)

In the months after Ramirez’s death, Albany County prosecutor Peggy Trent convened a grand jury to establish whether there was probable cause to charge Colling with a crime. Trent presented evidence to jurors for three days, after which the grand jury decided there was not probable cause, Trent said at a press conference in January 2019.

At that conference, Trent described the grand jury deliberation as a more thorough process than is typical of most Wyoming officer-involved shooting investigations. 

While Wyoming lacks clear statutory procedures for how such incidents are investigated, Wyoming’s statewide law enforcement agency, the Division of Criminal Investigation, has investigated in all apparent recent cases. The county attorney in the relevant county receives DCI’s report and then decides whether the shooting was justified or not. 

In Laramie, the group Albany County for Proper Policing, which sprung up in the wake of Ramirez’s death, called on Trent to recuse herself from the case. Trent did not. 

Prosecutors have broad control over a grand jury. They pick the evidence and set the arguments, all in secret. There was no opposing attorney making a case against Trent. 

Trent knew both Colling and Ramirez and their families, she said at the press conference. But with a grand jury, “I thought we could do it better” than other counties had done with police shootings, she said. Trent argued the grand jury created a more thorough and independent review of the evidence in the shooting. 

“I secured two experts to come into our community in order to provide insight as to national standards and how it should be done in the use of deadly force,” she said at the press conference. 

“It was more raw, more direct towards those witnesses than you would ever have in a courtroom with a jury present with a judge,” Trent said.

A Shield For Justice?

In the new filings, Hinkel’s attorneys allege the grand jury was a shield for justice, not a step toward it. Trent selected witnesses and presented evidence in a manner aimed at clearing Colling, aware that the county government she works for would likely end up in civil court, they allege. 

Trent called two expert witnesses during the grand jury, according to both her press conference and the latest filings from the Spence lawyers. One was Dave Dubay, a Casper-based consultant who previously worked for the company that manufactured the taser and body camera Colling used. The other was Connecticut-based attorney Eric Daigle.

Daigle “exclusively defends law enforcement officers in civil rights litigation,” the new filing alleges, implying he is not suitable as an impartial witness in the grand jury. Hinkel’s lawyers aren’t the first to accuse Daigle — whose website describes him as a law enforcement consultant and former police officer, still certified in Connecticut — of bias. 

Officials in Aurora, Colorado hired Daigle in June 2020 to investigate the high-profile death of Elijah McClain while the young Black man was in police custody. Daigle’s contract was cancelled after one day when a city councilmen raised concerns that the attorney was dedicated to defending police officers and their employers from civil liabilities. 

At the press conference, Trent said the grand jury’s purpose was to establish whether criminal charges should be filed. But the “county now admits – contrary to the statements of Attorney Trent – that these experts were also hired in anticipation of the forthcoming civil litigation,” the lawyers wrote.  

Their statement appears to refer to the county’s attorney’s resistance to subpoenas issued for the materials Daigle and Dubay used to prepare their testimony. The county’s attorney, John Bowers of the Bowers Law Firm in Rawlins, argues such materials, as well as communications between the expert witnesses and county officials, are protected under attorney-client privilege. 

“This admission may establish a preordained decision by the County to defend and condone Colling’s actions in the criminal investigation which it oversaw to affect the civil litigation,” Hinkel’s lawyers wrote. 

Bowers, the county’s attorney, did not respond to a request for comment left with his office. 

“All of the material in both expert witness’s files was prepared for the Grand Jury and certainly it was not unexpected that civil litigation might result from the matter,” Bowers wrote in a Feb. 5 filing where he argued against releasing Daigle and Dubay’s investigative materials and communications with the county. “The impressions and opinions by the attorneys involved in the Grand Jury proceeding would be the same in the current civil litigation.”

Shooting Still Reverberates In Small Town

Colling and Ramirez were once high school classmates in Laramie. While Colling went on to a checkered career in law enforcement, Ramirez battled mental illness, alternating paranoid episodes with periods of stability, skateboarding and making music.

On the fatal day, Colling pulled Ramirez over after observing Ramirez drive slowly and fail to use his turn signal. A brief vehicle chase ended in front of Ramirez’s apartment, where the two men struggled before Colling shot Ramirez three times — once in the chest and twice in the back.

A protester carries a sign calling for “Justice for Robbie and George” — referring to Robbie Ramirez, who was killed by an Albany County sheriff’s deputy, and George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police — at a June 4, 2020 protest in Laramie. (Andrew Graham/WyoFile)

O’Malley has defended Colling’s use of force, and his hiring of the deputy. Ramirez’s mother has said the officer did “zero” to deescalate a situation that could have ended without tragedy. 

In Jan. 2019, the Laramie Boomerang reported O’Malley — now retired — was “currently working” with Daigle on a review of his department’s use-of-force policies. That review never occurred, according to emails included in the latest filings from The Spence Law Firm. 

“It is my understanding and belief from my clients that Sheriff O’Malley never followed through with having Mr. Daigle perform the review after the grand jury proceeding,” Bowers wrote in a Feb. 4 email to Hinkel’s lawyers. 

Colling continues to serve on the force, and O’Malley’s replacement has declined to comment on the case in two recent national news reports.

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Campbell County Judge Dismisses Felony Charge for Mother of Abused Infant

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By Ryan Lewallen, County 17

A Campbell County judge ruled Friday afternoon to dismiss a felony charge for Keasha Bullinger, 28, the mother of an allegedly abused 4-month-old infant that suffered 31 broken bones.  

Circuit Court Judge Wendy Bartlett, of the Sixth Judicial District, said, as part of her ruling, that the State of Wyoming had not satisfied its burden of proof for an allegation claiming that Bullinger had taken steps to disrupt the pursuit of justice in a felony child abuse investigation into the alleged actions of Tyler Martinson, 28 (County 17, Jan. 5). 

Campbell County Attorney Mitch Damsky argued that Bullinger had coached her oldest son in preparation of a forensic interview in Rapid City, South Dakota, instructing him on what to say and how to respond to questions that could be asked regarding the potential abuse of her then 3-month-old son.  

Gillette Police Department (GPD) Detective Eric Small, lead investigator in the case against Martinson, told the court that Bullinger’s son was withdrawn and guarded during the forensic interview, informing investigators that his mother had told him that Martinson didn’t hurt the infant “that bad” and that babies’ bones break easy.  

Those statements are clear indications that Bullinger had prepared her 8-year-old son for the interview, according to Damsky.  

“Those were not the words of an 8-year-old child,” Damsky said about video footage of the forensic interview.  

Attorney Christina Williams, representing Bullinger, argued that the prosecution’s arguments lacked clear evidence that the alleged offense occurred and were based largely on speculation.   

“You’re just guessing that this happened, you can’t say for sure,” Williams told Small, dismissing the detective’s assertions that video evidence clearly showed Bullinger’s son was prepped for the interview.  

She noted that Bullinger’s son had given no indication that he had been specifically prepared for questions that could be asked during the interview.  

Williams further stated that the prosecution’s arguments against Bullinger didn’t match the definitions of the state statute she was charged under.  

Wyoming Statute § 6-5-202 states that a person is an accessory after the fact if, with intent to hinder, delay or prevent the discovery, detection, apprehension, prosecution, detention, conviction, or punishment of another for the commission of a crime, he renders assistance to the person.   

Bullinger did not force her son, intimidate her son, or deceive her son into doing anything, Williams said, further noting the state’s inability to point out specific questions that Bullinger’s son had been prepared for.  

“It’s just speculation, your honor, it’s not supported by evidence or probable cause,” Williams said.  

Bartlett agreed with the defense and dismissed the felony charge against Bullinger but added that other misdemeanor charges related to the child abuse case still need to be addressed.  

Bullinger remains charged with seven counts of child endangerment for allegedly knowing about, and failing to act, on a string of abuse allegedly inflicted on her infant son by Martinson, who was arrested on 31 counts of felony aggravated child abuse Jan. 4 (County 17, Jan. 26). 

Affidavits of probable cause filed in the case state that Bullinger, accompanied by Martinson, took her infant son to the emergency room at Campbell County Memorial Hospital on Jan. 2.  

The infant was screaming, inconsolable, and his ribs popped and cracked with each breath, court documents say, which also note that his right leg was splayed to the side and not moving.  

Medical examinations revealed the infant had suffered 26 separate fractures to his ribs and five fractures to his legs, the worst of which was a fracture to his right femur.  

Small added during Bullinger’s preliminary hearing Feb. 26 that the baby also had three compression fractures, one in his neck and two in his back, according to additional medical examinations carried out in Denver, Colorado.  

“I might have been a little rough,” Martinson allegedly informed investigators Jan. 2, according to court documents, saying that he did not know how to pick up or handle an infant and believed he had injured the infant several times in the last three months.  

Bullinger is believed to have known about Martinson’s actions; on one occasion she walked in a room while Martinson had been changing the infant’s diaper to find her infant son bleeding from his nose and mouth, according to court documents.  

On other occasions, Bullinger noted that Martinson had allegedly been showing signs of resentment towards his son and had been picking him up so abruptly that the infant would scream in pain, according to court documents.   

Williams stated Feb. 26 that Bullinger had not been idle regarding the abuse; she had sought medical attention for the infant on several occasions and had collaborated with Martinson’s parents to put their son in counseling.  

Several times, she told investigators, Bullinger would “get up in Martinson’s face about it,” court documents state.  

But despite knowing of the danger Martinson posed to her infant son, court documents say, Bullinger repeatedly left the baby in his charge.  

When asked what it would have taken for her to do something about the abuse, Bullinger allegedly told investigators that the baby would have to be screaming in pain, according to the affidavit.  

Bullinger was arrested on the charges Jan. 25 but has since posted bail and has been released from the Campbell County Detention Center.  

Bartlett ordered that a criminal case be scheduled for a ruling on the child endangerment charges against Bullinger.  

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Casper Man Arrested for Murder Told Church About Crime

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Casper man arrested for second-degree murder on Friday allegedly announced to his church that he had committed the crime, according to authorities.

Casper police arrested Olinza Headd, 53, without incident Friday following a suspicious death investigation that began on Jan. 13.

The investigation began after police were called to an apartment complex in Casper on a report of a suicide attempt. The reporting party heard a gunshot from her apartment and her boyfriend, Eugene Hogan III, was inside of the apartment alone.

Upon arrival on the scene, first responders found Hogan from with several apparent gunshot wounds.

During what was Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters called a very complex investigation, officers began to develop theories on what happened.

McPheeters said a witness account of Headd publicly announcing at his church on Jan. 17 that he had shot another man “greatly assisted” in the investigation.

Armed with that information and evidence they had gathered themselves, investigators determined Headd, a member of Hogan’s family, entered Hogan’s apartment on the evening of Jan. 13 with a firearm and shot the victim multiple times before leaving the scene.

“This investigation yielded the highest level of professionalism in police services out of our extremely skilled team here at the Casper Police Department,” McPheeters said. “Many areas of the Department were used as integral resources in gathering information and evidence to reach a conclusion in this case. This investigation highlights the importance of our community’s role in helping to solve and prevent crimes. It is all of our responsibility to do our part to keep Casper the safe community we know and love.

“We commend the brave individuals who came forward to assist us with this case and thank the hard-working men and women of the Casper Police Department who put in countless hours – working all day and all night – to ensure those responsible would be brought to justice,” McPheeters continued. “Any loss of life in our community is tragic and our condolences are with the family of the deceased.”

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Wyoming Couple Killed By Nebraska Police Also Stole Propane Tanks In Mills

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Casper woman and Evansville man who died as a result of a shootout with Nebraska law enforcement last weekend also stole more than $800 worth of propane tanks in Mills in the days leading up to their deaths, according to authorities.

According to the Mills Police Department, a theft occurred at the Salt Creek Homax in Mills on Feb. 17. When employees reported the theft later that day, they provided officers with surveillance camera footage.

The footage showed an adult male (later determined to be Christian Alexander) and an adult female (later determined to be Hailey Stainbrook) taking 14 Blue Rhino propane tanks, which were valued at $837.75.

The couple was seen arriving in a black GMC Yukon, loading the tanks into the vehicle and then leaving.

The Mills and Casper police departments collaborated together on this investigation, and the owner of the stolen GMC Yukon identified the vehicle after seeing stills of the footage on social media.

The vehicle owner also helped identify Alexander and Stainbrook.

The couple was killed while fleeing from officers in Lincoln, Nebraska, after allegedly stealing a man’s wallet at a hotel. Stainbrook apparently met the man via a social media app on Friday evening and spent some time with him at his hotel.

As the two were fleeing, an officer crashed his vehicle into theirs, stopping them. The officer then began exchanging gunfire with Alexander, according to police reports.

After Alexander was disabled, officers negotiated with Stainbrook for around seven minutes before she pointed a gun at law enforcement, prompting officers to shoot at her, reports said.

Stainbrook died at a hospital after surgery over the weekend and Alexander died Tuesday of his injuries. Officer Jesse Hilger, who shot the couple, will be placed on administrative leave until an internal investigation is completed.

The police have found to be justified in their shooting of Alexander and Stainbrook, however.

According to the Mills Police Department, a small portion of the stolen propane tanks have been located and the Yukon was returned to its owner after being found in Cheyenne.

No charges have been filed in the theft case, due to the investigation being in its preliminary stages.

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Green River Man Changes Plea In Terroristic Threats Case

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By Rock Springs Rocket Miner, Cowboy State Daily

GREEN RIVER — A Green River man changed his plea to guilty Wednesday afternoon for calling the Rock Springs Community Health Center and making death threats in January.

Wade Marin Prehn, 46, of Green River originally pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Sweetwater County Third District Court on Feb. 3 to the felony charge of terroristic threats.

As part of a plea agreement, Prehn changed his plea to guilty during a video hearing before Judge Suzannah Robinson on Feb. 24. He will be sentenced after a pre-sentence investigation is completed. Prehn also faces a misdemeanor charge in a separate case.

Under the agreement, Prehn would receive a suspended two- to three-year prison sentence and be placed on three years of supervised probation. The maximum penalty for terroristic threats is three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Prehn agreed with information read to him by Judge Robinson from court documents about a call he made around 6 p.m. on Jan. 20 to the Community Health Center on Commercial Way in Rock Springs. He admitted that the call was made by him.

The employee who answered said the caller refused to identify himself and at one point threatened to slaughter those at the clinic. She said the man was rude, hostile and cursing during the call.

He wanted Medicaid information and said that they had better have it, and that he was getting ready to come there and “take them all down.” He then said, “I’m about to slaughter all of you.” When asked if that was a threat, the caller replied that it was a promise, and he was on his way over.

There were nine employees and two patients in the clinic at the time. A call was made to the Rock Springs Police Department. When officers arrived, they stood by while everyone left the clinic. Prehn agreed that the statements he made in the call terrified people at the clinic and caused a serious public inconvenience by requiring an evacuation.

He admitted to the charge of “threatening to commit a violent felony in reckless disregard of the risk of causing serious public inconvenience.” He said that the call was made from Green River.

Prehn said he had moved to Green River from Cheyenne in December to live with his girlfriend.

On the day he made the threatening call, Prehn said he had just found out that his teenage son had committed suicide.

He said that after talking to Saratoga police about his son’s suicide, he made other calls to the numbers of physicians and medical providers given to him during an emergency room visit.

He said that he was very “frazzled” and “nasty on the phone” with all those he talked to. He apologized.

The defense said that even though Prehn’s behavior was spurred by tragic circumstances, Prehn knows that what he did was wrong, and he wants to take responsibility for his actions.

Judge Robinson agreed to release Prehn from the Sweetwater County Detention Center with bond lowered to “his own recognizance” in the case, based on the plea agreement, while he awaits sentencing.

The judge warned Prehn that if he doesn’t follow his bond conditions, his situation will be “precarious.”

His bond could be forfeited, and he would likely remain in jail until his sentencing. In addition, the plea agreement could be rejected and the maximum sentence imposed.

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Another Gillette Resident Falls Victim To Phone Scam

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By County 17, Cowboy State Daily

A 69-year-old Gillette man is out $1000, after falling prey to an international scammer claiming to be tech support.

This is the second such incident reported to the Gillette Police Department (GPD) this week.

The man reported that he’d received a call from someone claiming to be an Apple support person calling about disputed iTune charges, GPD Sgt. Eric Dearcorn said Thursday.

The man had been asked to purchase two eBay gift cards at Walgreens and an additional three gift cards from Smith’s Food and Drug for a total of $1,000.

After reading off the gift card numbers to the caller following his purchasing, the caller hung up at which point the man reported the scam to GPD.

This scam is part of a growing trend with 270% more Americans falling victim to phone scams in 2020 over the prior year, according to a December survey by First Orion, a communication solutions company.

in 2020, Americans reported paying out nearly $19.7 billion to scammers, per an online survey conducted by The Harris Poll.

According to the same poll, the amount of money lost by Americans last year increased by $9.2 billion from 2019.

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Green River Man Arrested For Cashing in Fake Gambling Tickets

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Green River man was apprehended earlier this week after he was caught cashing in multiple fraudulent gambling tickets.

According to the Rock Springs Police Department, officers were sent to the Flying J Travel Plaza on the morning of Feb, 13 in response to a report of a man cashing multiple fake tickets.

Through further investigation, the suspect was identified as 31-year-old Nicholas Anderson.

On Sunday, Flying J staff called police to report Anderson returned to the store, but he left before officers managed to make it onto the scene.

Anderson’s vehicle was located and a traffic stop was conducted. He was subsequently placed under arrest and charged with two counts of possession of forged writings.

However, during the course of the traffic stop, a K-9 unit was deployed around the vehicle and alerted to something inside the car.

Officers found what was suspected to be methamphetamine and heroin inside the vehicle. In addition to Anderson, Jessica Lewis, 34, of Rock Springs was arrested for unlawful possession of less than three grams of a powder or crystalline substance.

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